A burial Mass for late Catholic Cardinal Paul Shan (單國璽), who died of multiple organ failure on Wednesday at the age of 88, is scheduled for Sept. 1, the Kaohsiung Diocese Bishop’s Office said yesterday.
The funeral is to be a simple affair, held “as poor people would,” as stipulated by Shan in his will, the office said. It would be decorated only with candles, the Bible and crucifixes, it added.
Any donations and condolence money will go to the Social Welfare Foundation for the Disadvantaged, established by Shan.
The mass is to take place at a chapel in the city’s St Dominic Catholic High School, after which Shan is to be buried in a Catholic cemetery in Kaohsiung in compliance with his wishes, the office said. Three requiems are to be held every day after the funeral chapel decorations have been completed.
Shan’s body was taken back to Kaohsiung earlier yesterday by Archbishop Peter Liu from a hospital in New Taipei City (新北市) where he passed away.
Monsignor Paul Russell, the papal representative in Taiwan, said he would attend the mass, in which he is to read a message from Pope Benedict XVI.
Recalling his friendship with Shan, Russell said his words and behavior are the best role model and witness to the Catholic gospel.
Separately yesterday, a spokesman for the Straits Exchange Foundation, which handles cross-strait affairs in the absence of official ties, said the government would contact Shan’s family in China and help to arrange their trip to attend the funeral.
Chiang Han-sun (江漢聲), president of Fu Jen Catholic University, said the university would publish Shan’s writings to spread his spirit of selflessness. Shan was the honorary chairman of the university, which is located in New Taipei City.
The school has halted all festive events on campus and has changed the Chinese-language pages of its Web site to monochrome to signify its condolences, Chiang added.
Shan, who was born Dec. 2, 1923, in China, was the first Catholic cardinal to serve in Taiwan. He was appointed to the position by Pope John Paul II in 1998. Shan retired in 2006, the same year he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
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